A growing need for business education in the space sector has led three top European business schools to collaborate with the European Space Agency (ESA) to launch a European business education programme called Space for Business, aimed at executives and managers. Joining Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) are the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and NOVA School of Business and Economics in Portugal. The alliance of three business schools and ESA provide a European platform for people working in the space sector as well as for those interested in entering the space market. The programme was officially launched in an ESA webinar on 2 June 2021.

The need for space business education

Space is the new economic frontier. An increasing number of entrepreneurs and companies operating in the recently commercialised ‘New Space’ sector are building their business models around infrastructures, products or services developed for space and non-space markets. In a recent report, finance and investment company Morgan Stanley estimated that the space sector could grow to US$1 trillion dollars by 2040. Space technology is also expected to play a key role in addressing the world’s grand challenges: fighting climate change, human space exploration, as well as the delivery of global internet.

The growing number of new actors in the space sector increases the need for business education. Many firms start with great ambitions and ideas but lack the management knowledge and skills to build more sustainable companies and to accelerate their business.

Prof. Ansgar Richter, Dean of RSM said: “The space industry offers exciting business opportunities for start-ups and established companies alike. Competing in the space sector means competing on knowledge. We are privileged to be joining with two other leading business schools in Europe in order to offer the Space for Business programme for future leaders in this sector. The opportunities this programme will offer are unrivalled.”

About the programme

The Space for Business programme will be delivered with in-person modules and online classes from academic and industry experts. Participants can also expect to gain a peer network of space industry professionals. The programme has four objectives:

  1. to provide in-depth knowledge of the space industry and its opportunities for space and non-space companies;
  2. to offer participants a deeper understanding of innovation, management and the entrepreneurial challenges in this sector;
  3. to help participants to apply these insights to their own company and projects;
  4. to grow a peer network of professionals in the space industry.

The six-month programme consists of three residential modules of 3-5 days, each located in a different European country: Switzerland, Portugal and the Netherlands. During the modules, participants work on a personal impact project, which challenges them to directly apply their new knowledge to make real and relevant impact on their business and role. At the end of the programme, participants will present their work to stakeholders at the European Space Technology and Research Centre in the Netherlands.

What others are saying about the programme

Elodie Viau, director of ESA’s Telecommunication and Integrated Applications, very much welcomes the new programme: “Reaching out to the world’s current and future decision makers is paramount to integrate European space into our global society and economy. This course will equip [business and management leaders] with insightful tools to make space part of your business solution; no matter whether you are venturing in space or down on earth.”

Ricardo Conte, president of Portugal Space states: "Education is a fundamental tool to ensure that Europe has the human resources necessary to enable sustainable growth and secure the future of the space sector. Initiatives like the European Space Business Programme are crucial to ensure that academia, industry and business speak the same language and contribute to an innovation ecosystem, which will provide a fundamental contribution to the digital sovereignty of Europe."

Details about the programme

The first module is from 22-26 November 2021in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Following modules will take place 25-28 January 2022 in Portugal, and during May or June 2022 in the Netherlands.

More information about the programme can be found at www.spaceforbusiness.eu. Programme manager for the ESA is Annique de Greef, info@spaceforbusiness.eu.

Programme Director for RSM is Dr René Olie rolie@rsm.nl, Programme Director for St Gallen is Dr Andreas Wittmer andreas.wittmer@unisg.ch, and Programme Director for NOVA is Ricardo Mesquita Ricardo.mesquita@novasbe.pt.

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